The Short Answer
Securing profitable real estate deals forms the basis of real estate investing. Finding great real estate deals is essentially the key element of creating a successful path for real estate investors in the world of real estate investing. This means knowing where to look, knowing how to spot a good deal, and making the most informed decisions along the way.
There are 6 useful ways to find a good real estate deal online:
3. Online advertising
4. Public records
5. Real estate websites
6. Social media and online forums
There are other effective methods used to find good real estate deals too:
- Driving for dollars
- Direct mail
How Do You Spot A Good Deal?
Spotting a good real estate deal is truly a skill for savvy real estate investors. This skill requires a combination of local market knowledge, financial analysis, comparative property insights and some intuition. Once you are clear on the type of deal you’re looking for, and the price you should be paying, you can begin your search armed with the insights you need to make informed real estate investing decisions.
Analyzing the Local Real Estate Market
Finding a property in the right location is vital to your success as real estate investors. Typically, a desirable location can increase demand and property values over time which is good for your investment. As such, it’s a good idea to look for real estate investment properties in areas with strong economic fundamentals, such as job growth, good schools, low crime rates, and amenities like parks and shopping centers.
Once you’ve found a good location, research the local real estate market. Look at the supply, demand, and pricing for investment property types that you’re interested in. Find out whether the area is experiencing appreciation or depreciation on properties. These considerations are a driving factor in your decision making.
Looking at Comparative Properties
A comparative market analysis is an effective tool for real estate investors to find out the prices of properties in the same area, with similar attributes. This involves looking at properties that have sold within the last 6 months, in the same area, that have the same features – such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and so on. This is one of the most effective tools used to figure out the price that a property should be sold for, and will be invaluable in helping you spot a good real estate deal.
Crunching the Numbers
The last key factor in spotting good deals involves crunching the numbers to determine if the deal makes financial sense. Calculate key metrics like cash flow, cap rate, and return on investment (ROI) as these will provide a clear picture of the property’s financials. Factor in all costs, including purchase price, financing, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and vacancies. A good deal should generate a positive cash flow and offer a solid return on investment that includes significant profit for real estate investors.
6 Ways To Find Real Estate Deals Online
Now that you know how to spot a good deal, let’s look at how to find them. The first, and easiest, place to begin your search for good real estate deals is online. There are a variety of resources to use, and these are easy to use in your search for a great real estate deal.
Online Resource 1: MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a powerful resource for anyone trying to find a good real estate deal, from investors to real estate agents. The sheer volume of properties available on the platform lends itself to people finding good deals by searching in the right area. The MLS allows users to receive email alerts of properties that fall within their search criteria, which can be instrumental in your search for real estate deals.
The MLS offers data and insights on each property, which is useful for those looking for a specific deal. While the MLS has a lot of users and therefore a lot of competition, when it’s used correctly, it’s a valuable resource for finding good real estate deals.
Online Resource 2: Craigslist
Craigslist is one of the biggest online classifieds platforms, and this includes real estate. You can use Craigslist to supplement your search for a real estate deal, and even post an advert stating that you’re looking to buy a property. While you may not find a picturesque property, you could find a fixer upper, or a property with a motivated seller who will part with it at a price much lower than market value.
Online Resource 3: Online Advertising
Using online advertising via social media, Google or other platforms can be a successful way to find a good real estate deal. You can be specific with your targeting, and market to people who are planning to move, for example. Online advertising is a useful tool which you can use to target a particular audience, without spending a fortune. It’s also quick to set these ads up, and they can run for as long as you like.
Online Resource 4: Public Records
Accessing courthouse records, or local municipal records with regards to homes that are in distress can be an effective solution for finding good real estate deals. This entails looking for properties that are in foreclosure, have tax liens, or indicate other financial distress.
Public records will show these factors, which can be a great indication of a property that is likely to be sold under market value as the owner rushes to get it off their hands and repay their debt. You can present a good offer to these motivated sellers and it’s likely that you could snag yourself a good deal.
Online Resource 5: Real Estate Websites
Using online platforms such as Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin to search for properties listed for sale is an easy place to start. These websites allow you to filter search results based on criteria like price range, location, property type, and features. Additionally, consider subscribing to email alerts to receive notifications about new listings that match your preferences.
Real estate agents use these websites frequently due to the volume of properties listed and the ease of access. Typically, real estate websites give you the option to find foreclosure properties, which can be a faster way to locate a good real estate deal.
Online Resource 6: Social Media and Online Forums
Following real estate professionals, joining online forums, joining social media groups, and following real estate influencers can be a key tool in finding good real estate deals. Online groups often share investment opportunities, which you can spot early and potentially avoid having to fend off loads of competition.
Along with this, investors usually share insights into the market, post market updates and potential deals. This can be a reliable way to find opportunities and capitalize on them before the competition hots up.
Other Ways To Find Good Real Estate Deals
While the online methods are an easy way to find a good real estate deal without having to leave your home, there are other methods that are worth trying. For those who are interested in finding good real estate deals using other avenues, or supplementing their online search with other methods, here are some of the most effective.
Method 1: Direct Mail
Targeted direct mail marketing campaigns are a good way to extend your reach and get in touch directly with motivated sellers. Bear in mind that these efforts need to be specific and intentional, in order to avoid wasting your time or money. For example, you could target a list of properties that are in pre-foreclosure and offer these homeowners an opportunity to get out financial hot water, before their property is foreclosed.
Method 2: Driving For Dollars
Another tried and trusted method which also remains an option is driving for dollars. This proactive approach is involves driving around to look for homes that could be good real estate deals. This means homes that are in distress that could be fixed up easily, or other types of homes with sellers that would be very motivated to sell. Homes that are falling into disrepair, with overgrown yards for example, are likely to be owned by someone who has checked out or can no longer maintain the property.
Method 3: Auctions
Real estate auctions can be a gold mine for good deals, for those who have done their research and prepared ahead of time. There are online auction platforms that you can explore as well, such as auction.com or RealtyTrac. The idea is to bid on foreclosed homes, bank-owned properties and distressed assets, and the highest bid gets the home.
As such, it’s important to do your research on the properties, before attending auctions, so that you can make sure you’re bidding on a property that is likely to be a good deal. It’s also vital to make sure that you are clear on your budget and the maximum amount you can bid, before you attend an auction, to avoid overspending and the deal becoming unfavorable.
Method 4: Networking
Networking with property other real estate professionals can be a great way to find good real estate deals, for example specialized real estate agents. Creating relationships with those who are in the real estate industry and who have their fingers on the pulse of the market can be a successful way to find deals that haven’t even hit the market yet.
You could network by joining real estate investment groups and other real estate groups. Networking also allows for collaboration, joint ventures, and deal sharing, which are extra avenues to consider to find good deals.
Method 5: Wholesalers
Collaborate with real estate wholesalers and bird dogs who specialize in finding off-market deals and distressed properties. Wholesalers identify properties with potential, negotiate contracts with sellers, and assign these contracts to investors for a fee. Building relationships with wholesalers can give you access to a pipeline of discounted properties.
Red Flags To Keep In Mind Before You Purchase A Property Below Market Value
Finding good real estate deals often means buying a property below market value. However, this comes with a few potential issues for real estate investors. The good news is that these issues can be avoided by looking out for red flags. Here are a few red flags for a real estate investor to be aware of when purchasing a property below market value:
- Poor condition: Properties that have fallen too far into disrepair, have structural issues, or need major repairs are a red flag. These properties may require more money to be spent on fixing them up, than they’re worth. They could also have pest infestations and other problems that are expensive to fix.
- Legal issues: Watch out for properties with any liens, title defects, or other legal issues. These can complicate the purchase process and create a headache for buyers who may have to solve costly legal problems. Buyers should do a title search on a property, before making an offer.
- Seller motivation: While undervalued homes are typically being sold by motivated sellers, pay attention to the reason for this motivation. Financial distress, divorce and relocation are among the common reasons for selling quickly. However, if a seller refuses to disclose certain information or hides significant defects, this is a red flag for a real estate investor as there may be more the deal than meets the eye.
- Location: Keep a close eye on the location of the property. Sometimes properties are priced below market value due to an issue with the location, which you may not have picked up on initially. For example, flood zones, high crime areas or areas that are declining, may provide real estate deals that look good on paper, but aren’t likely to yield a high profit once you’ve uncovered issues with the location that make it undesirable.